Jennifer Owens is editorial director of Working Mother magazine and director of the Working Mother Research Institute. Prior to joining Working Mother, Jennifer did stints as a reporter and editor, writing about everything from politics and business to fashion and crochet. These days, when shes not working on the magazine or its research projects, Jennifer speaks on work-life and womens advancement issues. She has been featured on ABC News, Fox Business News and in newspapers and magazines nationwide. She and her husband, Brett, have two kids: Gwendolyn, 8, and Owen, 4.
Over the years, how have you learned to balance career and motherhood?
Im still trying to figure it out. I actually dont like the word balance because nothing is ever in balance. I prefer the phrase work-life satisfaction. I believe in the power of words and I think that phrase allows for times when your family life overwhelms work and visa versa. From a more practical standpoint, the key for me is flexibility. I often end up working after the kids go to bed, but I also make nearly every school event. And if I cant, my husband does. We tag-team everything, and thats another key to making it all work.
Honestly, my biggest personal lesson is to try to keep my own crazies to myself. Take heights. Ive come to hate them, but while I was on a business trip, my husband took the kids for a ride on a Ferris wheel at Coney Island. I was just about say, Oh, no! Where you scared?! when I realized that my often-nervous daughter was starting to tell me about how brave she was and what a good time shed had. I reminded myself that theres no need to put my fears into her head. (My son, on the other hand, is a daredevil and wouldnt care if I was scared or not!)
Battling stress? Any advice?
I just read Eight Weeks to Optimum Health by Dr. Andrew Weil. Ive still got a long way to go, but I am trying to eat better and I do his breathing exercises when Im starting to get overwhelmed. You can also catch me doing stretches when Im at the copier, waiting for printouts.
Tools or products you cant live without?
Shared Google Calendars. If its not on one of our multiple family calendars, then its not going to get done. We also use these calendars to plan ahead for changing childcare needs when either my husband or I need to work late, or the kids have an early day off from school.
Do you have an inspirational quote, motto or philosophy you can share with us?
I have this hanging in my office:
Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: Yourself. Alan Alda
Favorite resources, books, or website?
My favorite take-a-break website is gofugyourself.com. I love the ridiculous outfits features on it and the writing is really funny.
Anything else exciting going on at Working Mother Magazine?
Working Mother just launched a campaign to demand universal paid parental leave in the United States. Were the only developed country that does not mandate paid parental leave something that 178 countries already do. Weve teamed up with the National Partnership for Women & Families to launch a petition drive. You can learn more about the campaign and why its needed here.
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